Cheerio Rome...hello London!
Two weekends ago I headed to jolly ol' London. All. By. Myself. Woo hoo! I boarded the plane super excited with a lot of plans for the weekend. I couldn't wait to visit a city that I'd been dying to see for a long time. There was so much I wanted to see and do. Imagine my surprise (and fear) when I was almost derailed at customs.
I just happened to choose the line with the grouchiest customs agent who scrutinized my passport for a ridiculously long time. She asked me a million questions and basically what ended up happening was she questioned my reasons for entering the UK. After all was said and done--I am not allowed to enter the UK for 6 months. Ugh!
Needless to say this wasn't exactly how I imagined my London adventure starting. Still, I was determined not to let it put a damper on my trip. After all...I was in LONDON!!!! I spoke the language and didn't have to think before I spoke...people were polite...nothing could spoil my time!
I made my way to the B&B I was staying in and was so pleased to find that it was very nice and in a neighborhood that I felt safe in. I stayed at a little place near Victoria Station that was run by the nicest British couple. My room was lovely! And!! There was a queen-sized bed! Ah! I didn't have to sleep in a narrow twin bed. I plopped down upon it and it was as if I was drifting upon a cloud in heaven. So nice!
But! I hadn't traveled to London merely to enjoy a nice bed...so I made myself get up and head out to explore. First stop, Starbucks! I was forewarned that they probably wouldn't have the Pumpkin Spice Latte that I'd been craving, so I wasn't too disappointed when I discovered that they didn't have it. Instead, I ordered my favorite standby: Toffee Nut Latte. Sooooo goooodddd!!!!
I took my latte (in a red Starbucks Christmas cup nonetheless!) and walked down Buckingham Palace Road. I soaked in the sights and was pleasantly surprised as I went to cross the street to see that painted on the road was a sign telling me which way to look. Gotta love the thoroughness of the Brits! Finally, I happened upon Buckingham Palace. Sadly, the queen was not in so I couldn't pop in for a spot of tea! Still, it was a pretty impressive sight. I spent some time wandering around the palace and then headed back to my hotel so I could get ready to go and see...WICKED!!!!!
I have been dying to see Wicked for forever, but every time it came through Phoenix it either sold out quickly or I wasn't in town. Well, The Wizard of Oz is my favorite movie so it was only natural that I should be anxious to see Wicked. I had amazing seats and am very pleased to say that I was not disappointed at all. It was one of the most incredible musicals I've ever seen. I want to see it again right now!!
On Saturday, after enjoying a lovely English breakfast and a chat with the hotel owner, I boarded a double decker tour bus to see the sights of London. I figured that since I'd never been there before and I was alone the bus would be the best way to see the sights. And I was right! I saw Westminster Abbey, the parliament building, Big Ben, the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Harrods, Harvey Nichols, the replica of the Globe Theatre, and so many other great sights. Such fun! Halfway thru the day I hopped off the bus and popped into a pub for a pint and some fish and chips. So good!! Plus! They had Heinz ketchup on the table...yuuuuummm..
On Sunday I boarded the bus again and saw a lot more of the city. I got off the bus and explored the British Museum where I saw some of the world's best antiquities. I saw the Rosetta Stone! So cool! From there, I made my way to the British Library where I saw original manuscripts of Beowulf, Shakespeare, and Jane Austen's Persuasion. I even saw her writing desk!! Then, I walked over to King's Cross Station and found Platform 9 and 3/4 just for a student who is a big Harry Potter fan. I must admit, it was kind of cool!
Over all, it was a fabulous trip. I really love London. It's such a great city and I look forward to getting back there someday (or at least after my 6 month ban has been lifted!) so that I can explore more and get to know the city a little better.